March 27, 2017

India’s first transgender school opens in kochi

India’s  first transgender school opens in kochi

India first transgender school opens in kochi
India’s first residential school for transgenders has opened in the southern Indian port city of Kochi, Kerala to help adults who dropped out of school without finishing their education.
The ‘alternative learning centre,’ Sahaj International is the first school of its kind in India, admits ten school dropouts who will be trained to appear for Class 10 and 12 board exams, besides providing soft skills.
The students will be prepared for India’s Class 10 and 12 board exams, normally sat when students are aged 15-16 or 17-18 respectively. The curriculum will also include some vocational skills.
Transgender activist Vijayraja Mallika, who heads the school, told : “The school aims at making transgenders eligible for taking decent jobs and living a dignified life.”
“We have admitted six candidates so far, all male-to-female persons, from 14 applicants. Of the 10 seats, we have reserved one for female-to-male and one for the disabled.”
Teachers are also transgender
The school is in Kerala, which is the first Indian state to adopt a transgender policy against discrimination. It promotes inclusive education, and offers free gender reassignment surgery at government hospitals.
The centre’s organisers said they had arranged sponsors for all the students, to pay for their food, accommodation and studies.
The teachers also belong to the transgender community – a measure designed to protect and encourage the pupils.
The decision comes after India’s first transgender college principal, Manabi Bandopadhyay, resigned from her post claiming that some of her students and fellow teachers had agitated against her because of her sexual identity.
India has an estimated two million transgender people, and in 2014 the country’s Supreme Court ruled that they have equal rights under the law.
As well as the right to marry and inherit property, they are also eligible for quotas in jobs and educational institutions.
But abuse and exploitation are still common. Many transgender people are thrown out of home by their families, denied jobs, and forced into sex work, begging, or dancing at weddings to make ends meet.
Finally, the Pro-Life initiative of the Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Council, which campaigns against abortion, came to their help and had Congregation of the Mother of Carmel nuns accommodating them.
“We now receive support from the local bishop, legislator, the district administration and civic bodies. We’ll seek the state government’s assistance after establishing ourselves in three months,” she said.
The school was opened by activist Kalki Subramaniam, who is a transgender woman herself.
“This day is historic for me,” she said.


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